Chemical Components

• Flavonoids (including flavonols and methoxylated flavones), apigenin (other flavonols are partially hydrolysed to apigenin leading to concentrations of up to 8%), apigetrin (apigenin-7-d-glucoside), apigenin-7-acetylglucoside, apiin (apigenin-7-apiosylglucoside), rutin (quercetin-3-rutinoside), luteolin, quercimeritrin (quercetin-7-d-glucoside), quercetin and isorhamnetin.

• Coumarins — umbelliferone (7-hydroxycoumarin) and herniarin (methyl ether of umbelliferone).

• Proazulenes (sesquiterpene lactones) including matricin, matricarin and desacetlymatricarin.

• Plant acids (acidic mucilage), fatty acids, polysaccharide, choline, amino acids. ESSENTIAL OIL

Chamomile extract produced by a cold extraction process is yellow; steam distillation produces the blue essential oil. This is derived from matricin, also known as proazulene or prochamazulene, a precursor of chamazulene.

Chamazulene (1-1 5%), farnesene, alpha-bisabolol and bisabolol oxides A and B (up to 50% of the essential oil; proportions vary depending on the chemotype), bisabolone oxide, chamazulene (from matricin on distillation), matricin, chamaviolin, spathulenol and c/'s- and frans-enyne dicyclo ethers (spiroether, polyacetylenes).

German chamomile has four chemotypes (variations of the plant product according to chemical composition). These relate to slight variations in the bisabolol oxide content of the essential oil (Gasic et al 1986). Chemotypes, which contain highest levels of alpha-bisabolol (known as C and D chemotypes), should be sourced when an essential oil is required for antiphlogistic or spasmolytic properties.

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